TRIBUTES have been paid to Oxford City stalwart John Shepperd.

The 84-year-old, who spent 43 years as club secretary, died on Sunday night.

He leaves behind his daughter Julie, son Alan, two grandchildren, two step grandchildren, a son in law and daughter in law.

Shepperd’s affiliation with City started when he watched his first game at the age of eight, before going on to play for the youth and reserve teams.

He joined the management committee in 1971 and became club secretary in 1974 – a role he continued until 2017.

City reported the news of Shepperd’s death last night.

A statement reads: “It is with immense sadness that the club announces the passing of long-time serving club secretary and life vice president, John Shepperd, over the weekend.

“Anyone who attended an Oxford City home match over the past 50 years will likely have come across ‘Shep’, who served the club in many different positions over that time span.

“We will be holding a minute’s silence in memory of Shep at our opening game of the season on Saturday afternoon against Concord Rangers.

“The thoughts of everyone at Oxford City are with John’s family and friends at this time.”

Club chairman Brian Cox worked alongside Shepperd for 25 years.

He said: “John was a phenomenal servant to the club. You can’t fault him, he was absolutely brilliant.

“Behind the scenes at the club it is constant and being secretary like he was there’s something going on all the time with the matches, players’ contracts.

“It’s just a never ending thing and that’s what needs to be appreciated when you’re talking about people like him – the amount of effort people put in that is unseen.”

City manager Mark Jones, who had known Shepperd for more than 20 years having previously being at the club as a player, also paid tribute.

He said: "It's very sad news, condolences to John's family.

"He was obviously a great club servant over many many years, it's very unusual these days for a volunteer to be at one club for so long.

"He obviously loved Oxford City and the work he did over the years was remarkable for the club and people should realise it was all unpaid.

"We would certainly like to pay our respects to him on Saturday in terms of having a minute's silence.

"I'm sure many people who knew him will want to come down and show their support."

Mike Ford, who spent eight years at City, including five seasons as manager, added: “When I heard the news it was very upsetting.

“John - Oxford City was his life, he spent nearly 50 years doing the same job at one place and that takes an awful lot of dedication and motivation.

“He would do anything for the club and he was immensely helpful to myself during my time as assistant manager and then when I took on the role as manager.

“It’s great sadness that he has passed, but I’m sure we will all look forward to his funeral and we will celebrate his life.”

Shepperd was awarded a UEFA Golden Jubilee Award Diploma in 2004, while in 2013 his dedication to promoting grassroots football was recognised with a medal as part of the FA’s 150th anniversary.

Most recently, Shepperd was recognised again by the FA when receiving a medal for long service to the game in 2016.

Tributes have also been flooding in on social media.

Former Oxford City Nomads coach Craig Adey posted on Twitter: “Very sad to hear this! What a fantastic servant and ambassador of such a great club. Condolences to all.”

David Tutton, who held various roles with the Oxfordshire Football Association, added: ”Very sad to hear this news.

“John was a legend in the game and we are unlikely to see his like again having served the game with distinction.

“A mind of knowledge and humour. A sporting gent having known him for several decades. RIP.”